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Annette Lilley Pestle, formerly of Brattleboro, Vermont, died peacefully at Vernon Green Nursing Home on Thursday, July 7, 2011. She was the widow of Ray Pestle Jr., the longtime county agent for Windham County.
Annette was born in Bakersfield, Vermont, on October 24, 1922, the second daughter of Mabel Doane Maynard and Benjamin Harrison Lilley. Her elder sister, Dorothy, had disabilities from birth, was eventually institutionalized and died in 1948. Benjamin Lilley died of TB when Annette was 4 years old. Her mother remarried John Cabana, whom Annette always viewed as her father. The family farmed in the Bakersfield area and only had horses (no car, tractor or truck) for farm work and transportation until Annette was in college.
Because her town did not have a high school Annette went away to high school in Montpelier at Montpelier Seminary (now part of Norwich University), where she worked for her room and board. She then attended Vermont College (also part of Norwich) for two years prior to transferring to UVM. She graduated from UVM in 1944, where she met her husband Ray. She then taught school in Sheldon, Vermont for a year. In May of 1945, Ray came to Brattleboro as the County Agricultural Extension agent (a part of the extension service of UVM) for Windham County, and the two were married in June of that year. They lived in the same house on Southern Avenue from 1951 until 2006 when they went into assisted living at Hilltop House. Ray died later that year, and Annette moved to Vernon Green in 2008.
She is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, John and Penelope Pestle of Green Valley, Arizona; a daughter and son-in-law, Carol and Leonard Goodnow of Spofford, New Hampshire; a grandson and his wife, William Pestle and Christina Menendez of Chicago; a granddaughter, Sarah Pestle of Baltimore, Maryland; and two great-grandchildren, Christian Rodriguez and Sebastian Menendez Pestle, both of Chicago.
Annette viewed being a native Vermonter as something special. She often recounted the fact that one of her ancestors had been the first one to bring registered cattle to northern Vermont. Another, at age 14, used a team of oxen to haul cannon captured by Ethan Allen from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston to help George Washington defend Bunker and Breeds Hills from the British across the river in Boston proper. And she claimed it led to her ability to consume large quantities of sugar on snow!
Annette's life revolved around her family, Centre Congregational Church, Ray's work and animals. Her children and grandchildren inherited her love of animals. At the church she was a member for 66 years (over a third of the life of the church), a deaconess, a part of Women's Fellowship, served on many of its committees, taught Sunday School, occasionally played the chapel organ, and was chair of the Building and Grounds Committee. In both early and later years she often accompanied Ray on his visits to farms and to out-of-town events. She was active in Home Demonstration Groups and was excellent at baking, desserts and canning. In fact, her recipe for tomato juice cocktail appears in the classic work on preserving foods, Putting Food By, now in its fifth edition.
Annette was never fazed by new things: At age 48 she got a car and learned to drive. The same year she took the necessary classes to return to teaching as a teacher's aide at Green Street School.
There was memorial service for Annette at Centre Congregational Church in Brattleboro on Tuesday, July 12, at 2 p.m. In lieu of visiting hours there was a reception following the service to which family and friends were invited to remember Annette, share stories and meet the family.
Gifts in Annette's memory should be sent to the Memorial Fund of Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301.
To sign an online register book with messages of condolence please visit www.atamaniuk.com.
Funeral arrangements are by Atamaniuk Funeral Home, 40 Terrace Street, Brattleboro.